Differential immunohistochemical detection of amphiregulin and cripto in human normal colon and colorectal tumors

Toshiaki Saeki, Kurt Stromberg, Chen Feng Qi, William J. Gullick, Eiichi Tahara, Nicola Normanno, Fortunato Ciardiello, Nicholas Kenney, Gibbes R. Johnson, David S. Salomon

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Thirty-six primary human colorectal tumors, 43 noninvolved colon samples that were adjacent to either carcinomas or adenomas, 22 adenomas, and nine normal colon specimens were immunohistochemically examined for the presence and localization of two epidermal growth factor-related peptides, amphiregulin (AR) and cripto. Within the primary tumors, 18 (50%) showed moderate levels of AR expression. Approximately 60% of the tubular and tubulovillous adenomas were positive for AR expression, whereas only 15% of the adjacent, noninvolved colon mucosa expressed AR. A greater proportion of well-differentiated tumors (71%) were positive for AR expression than were poorly differentiated tumors (18%). All of the nine normal colon specimens were positive. Consequently, AR expression appeared to be associated with both normal and malignant epithelial cells that were more differentiated. The distribution of cripto expression was different. Seventy-nine % of the colon tumors expressed cripto with a frequency of expression that was approximately equivalent between well-differentiated and poorly differentiated tumors. Approximately 86% of the tubulovillous adenomas, but only 43% of the tubular adenomas, were positive for cripto expression. In contrast, whereas AR was expressed in normal colon specimens, none of these tissues expressed cripto, and only 12% of the noninvolved normal colon samples adjacent to tumors or adenomas were positive for cripto. Cripto expression therefore appeared related to neoplasia. These data suggest that AR and cripto may be functioning as potential autocrine and/or paracrine growth factors in the colon and that the differential expression of cripto may serve as a potential tumor marker for colonic carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3467-3473
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 15 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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